Microsoft Office Live vs. Microsoft SME Live

Microsoft’s much touted Microsoft Office Live went into a live beta according to Microsoft this morning!

The free service it provides seems reasonable enough – you get your domain name, 5 email accounts, web stats and design tools. However the next two levels up don’t give much more (extra email accounts, and some online workspace is essentially it) but the price goes up to $29.95 per month! That seems like a big jump for not that much extra functionality.

The biggest issue I see with Office Live though is the branding – are they trying to fool consumers into thinking this is some form of online Microsoft Office? You just know some people will sign up thinking that that is what they are getting! In fact Robert Scoble admitted on his own blog that that’s what he thought it was:

It wasn’t what I thought it was (I was thinking it’d be an internet version of the Office Suite like PowerPoint, Excel, Word). It’s not. Get that out of your mind. And damn the marketers who are extending the Office brand.

If they really wanted to use a “Live” moniker, why didn’t they simply call it Microsoft SME Live or something similar?